Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Large-scale effort underway to improve Wisconsin River water quality

WAUSAU, Wis. -- Water quality problems in the Wisconsin River are limiting recreational opportunities, hurting businesses and creating conditions that adversely affect public health, according to state environmental officials who say the primary problem is phosphorus and other nutrients that enter the river as runoff from agricultural fields, barnyards, urban storm water and wastewater discharges.

Phosphorus fuels massive blue-green algae blooms in Wisconsin River impoundments, some of the worst recorded anywhere in the state, according to Scott Watson, Wisconsin River basin manager for the state Department of Natural Resources. Blue-green algae can be toxic to animals and humans, causing respiratory ailments, watery eyes and rashes. In addition, excessive phosphorus and algae blooms can lower dissolved oxygen levels in the river, harm aquatic life and cause fish kills.

“Waterfront business owners tell us when the algae blooms are present, they have seen customers arrive, then get back in their cars and leave,” Watson said. “This is a problem we need to address.”

Unfortunately, Watson notes, there are no quick solutions to help these businesses, because the problem was a long-time in the making. So the DNR has embarked on a three-year, science-based program to evaluate the phosphorus loads entering the river during various seasons and different climatic conditions to tackle the biggest remaining pollution sources. It will be expensive to fix and the state can’t afford to waste any money on efforts that won’t fix the problem.

Water quality monitoring began this past year from Tomahawk downstream to the Lake Wisconsin Dam near Sauk City.

DNR staff is working with the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point to collect water quality samples at 21 river and stream sites and 23 reservoir sites. Water quality data is being collected as well by specially trained citizens who are contributing data from the Petenwell and Castle Rock flowages, the two largest impoundments on the river.

The Wisconsin River drains approximately 20 percent of the state to the Upper Mississippi River basin. Along its 430-mile journey, the river provides many benefits to local communities and industries, and it is a vital asset for our recreation and tourism economy.

Many of the historical water quality problems that impaired the Wisconsin River have been substantially addressed since the 1970s, primarily by regulating industrial and municipal discharges. However the river and some of its tributaries, such as the Big Eau Pleine River, continue to receive excessive nutrient loads, primarily phosphorus.

The water quality data collected as part of this monitoring effort will not only be used to determine the amount of phosphorus reduction needed to restore water quality, it will be used to predict how the river will respond to different types of management actions, such as erosion controls, cropping practices and wastewater treatment.

Specific limits will be established for the amount of phosphorus that can be discharged from point sources and from nonpoint sources. The limits are expressed as a total maximum daily load, or TMDL. Actually setting the TMDLs involves a public participation process, including a public comment period. Once comments are addressed, the TMDL must be approved by the Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“This study will give us the tools we need to design solutions,” said DNR monitoring coordinator Ken Schreiber. “This is a huge challenge and it’s one we have to take on for our economy and our environment.”

The Wisconsin River has long been an engine of commerce, a boundless source of recreation and the lifeblood of the communities that grew up around it. Its potential for future generations is enormous. This project is critical for reaching the long-term goal of restoring the health, beauty and economic vitality of Wisconsin’s namesake river and its tributaries.

80,000 competed in Wisconsin fishing tournaments

MADISON -- Eighty-thousand anglers competed in 595 fishing tournaments in Wisconsin in 2010 and reeled in $3.9 million in prize money, according to statistics from the state's fishing tournament permit system.

Larger fishing tournaments have had to get permits since the mid-1990s, but a 2004 law directed the Department of Natural Resources to update rules as tournaments increased. DNR worked with an advisory group to revise the rules to establish limits on the size and number of tournaments on some lakes and rivers to minimize concerns such as crowding, the spread of invasive species, and indirect fish mortality.

In 2010, there were 637 applications for tournaments; all but one were approved, although some applications were withdrawn or the forms incomplete, and some events were cancelled. "Based on what we've seen so far, there doesn't seem to be any major issues with the capacity limits -- tournament organizers are getting the lakes and dates they wanted," says Jonathan Hansen, one of the fisheries biologists who works on tournament permitting issues.

Joanna Griffin, tournament coordinator for the DNR, said the permit system and database have helped reveal just how popular tournament fishing is. "What's interesting is where all the tournaments occur and how much money, time, and effort is devoted to them."

2010 Fishing Tournament Fast Facts

Of the 595 approved tournaments, 61 percent were so-called traditional tournaments. A traditional fishing tournament is one that was issued permits 4 out of 5 years between 2004 and 2008 for the same water or waters and time period.

  • 61 percent of the tournaments were catch, hold and release.
  • Fully one-quarter of the tournaments were ice fishing tournaments.
  • Tournaments took place in 64 counties; Winnebago County was tops with 37, followed by Oneida County with 32 and Waukesha County with 30.
  • Anglers spent 1.4 million hours fishing in tournaments, down from 1.67 million in 2009.
  • The number of fish registered in bass and walleye tournaments decreased with the decrease in tournaments from last year, however registered catch of Great Lakes salmon and trout, panfish, and musky all increased.
  • Bass were the target of 421 of the tournaments in 2010, followed by panfish at 324 tournaments and walleye at 204.
  • 99 percent of the musky caught in tournaments were released and 98 percent of the bass were released.

Tournament permits are required when any of the following apply: the tournament involves 20 or more boats, or 100 or more participants; targets any trout species on waters classified as trout streams; has a catch-hold-release format with an off-site weigh-in; or the total prize value is $10,000 or greater.

A full copy of the 2010 report is available on the fishing tournaments page of DNR website.

Ice fishing tournament organizers reminded to apply for a permit

Organizers of ice fishing tournaments will want to apply for a permit for their 2011 event as soon as possible -- applications must be submitted at least 30 days before their event.

And organizers of all tournaments -- open water and hard water -- can apply for permits for 2012 events as soon as April 1, 2011.

That's when the open period for applying for 2012 events starts, and it runs through June 30, 2011. Organizers applying during that the open period have the best chance of getting their desired dates and waters for 2012 events, says Hansen.

After April 1, permits are available on a first-come, first-serve basis so there is the potential of not getting the day and water desired, although that hasn't been a problem in the first two years of the permit system, Hansen says.

All applications received during the open period will be reviewed by Aug. 1, 2011, and in the unlikely event that another tournament conflicts with an organizer’s choice of dates or waters, DNR fisheries biologists will discuss options with the tournament organizers, Griffin says.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Show attracts Canada’s best

The All-Canada Show – visiting mid-America’s largest cities – will featclip_image002ure Canada’s top fishing and hunting destinations. The 28th annual event also includes: free seminars, free maps and travel guides, a free magazine with features and tips on Canadian adventures, free Cabela’s hunting simulator and, on opening night, a free Dardevle collector lure.

Adventurers interested in traveling to Canada will find a wide variety of destinations including: canoe outfitters, drive in resorts, remote fly-in outposts, 5-star fly-in lodges and hunting outfitters. The shows website lists exhibitors in each market including links to their websites. Go to AllCanadaShow.com for details.

The show is also a resource for planning the perfect adventure. “The key to a successful Canadian trip is proper planning,” says the shows media manager Joel Prunty, “That’s the whole premise of the All-Canada Show – we have everything you need to plan your trip. The opportunity for show guests to talk, face-to-face, with the owners and operators of these lodge…greatly improves their chances of a successful adventure.

Show staff and featured speaker Norm “the Great” McCreight use their combined 50-years fishing and hunting expertise on the show’s seminar stage to educate consumers. These informational presentations offer insight into selecting for the perfect destination, choosing the right lodge plan, crossing the border, plus tips on saving money and wilderness safety.

Prunty also noted, “There are some misconceptions out there about trips to Canada, the biggest being that it is expensive. Our show does host some of the finest lodges and resorts anywhere in the world, but there are also many housekeeping lodges and camps offering fabulous fishing for $500 per person for a week (and everything in between).”

“If you like Canada, there’s plenty to keep you occupied at the show,” he said, “Although the primary purpose of the show is to select the perfect destination for your adventure, we also offer a variety of information, attractions and entertainment to aid in the process and create a real Canadian atmosphere.”

For a discount coupon and complete details on the All-Canada Show go to: www.allcanadashow.com.

Other show features include:

‘Hanson Buck’ presented by Cabela’s—The World Record Whitetail exhibit ‘Hanson Buck’ visits the All-Canada Show. This life-size exhibit brings you face-to-face with the magnificent buck shot by Milo Hanson of Biggar, Saskatchewan in 1993. The 'Hanson Buck' is sure to capture your attention.

Norm “The Great” McCreight—This icon of the All-Canada Show will talk

hunting and fishing in his beloved Canada at his daily seminars and may even throw in a few hockey comments. Updated seminar schedules will be posted on the All-Canada website: AllCanadaShow.com.

Moose Bay Trading Company – will an expanded inventory for 2010 Moose Bay offers unique Canadian gifts, food items and clothing. Anglers will also find must have lures for their Canadian Adventures. Visit MooseBayTrading.com for more details.

Meet 2008 DU International Artist of the Year—Anthony J. Padgett, rated in the top 10 wildlife artists in the United States, will be present during all show hours in the gallery at the show. Padgett painted “Locked at Lac Seul,” the original artwork of two trophy moose near Lac Seul, Ontario.

Eppinger night—Opening night every paid admission will receive a free

Eppinger Dardevle, one of the best lures to take along on your Canadian fishing trip. Throughout the show, children between the ages of 8 and 16 will receive a free mini-Dardevle with a paid admission.

Other Attractions—The show’s traditional favorites are back: an authentic Canadian shore lunch (for an extra fee) in concessions, featuring Labatt Blue and a Free Cabela’s hunting simulator.

Free stuff—All show guests will receive a free copy of All-Canada Adventures

magazine (a $5.25 value) as well as maps and brochures from exhibitors and the All-Canada Show Travel Centre.

Prizes—Grand prize for all eleven shows is an Anthony J. Padgett original artwork A view from Churchill, plus $1,000 Cabela’s gift card. In addition All-Canada awards a vacation prize to Canada in every city including: three days and four nights for two people, American Plan including all meals, boat, motor, gas, guide (two-day minimum) and tax.

Sponsors—National sponsors for 2011 include Cabela's, Travel Manitoba, Labatt Blue, Yamaha Canada, Tourism Ontario, Eppinger (Dardevle lures), PermaTrophy, and Spectra Print.

Admission--Adults, $10; seniors and children (13-16), $8; and children 12 and under, free. For $2 off coupon and complete show details, log on to AllCanadaShow.com or call: 800-325-6290.

2011 All-Canada Show Schedule: St. Louis, St. Charles Convention Center, Jan. 7-9; Indianapolis, The Ritz Charles, Carmel, Jan. 10-12; Chicago, Pheasant Run Resort, St. Charles, Jan. 13-16; Milwaukee, Milwaukee County Sports Complex, Jan. 20-23; Madison, Marriott Madison West Convention Center, Jan. 24-28; Green Bay, ShopKo Hall, Jan. 27-30; Sioux Falls, Ramkota Exhibit Hall, Feb. 3-5; Omaha, Holiday Inn Convention Centre, Feb. 7-9; Des Moines, KJJY Event Center at 7 Flags, Feb. 11-13; Minneapolis/St. Paul, Earle Brown Heritage Center, Minneapolis, Feb. 18-20 and Dallas, Irving Convention Center, Feb. 25-27.

Hours: St. Louis, Des Moines and Dallas: 5-9 p.m., Friday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday. Chicago, Milwaukee and Green Bay: 5-9 p.m., Thursday; 3-9 p.m., Friday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday. Minneapolis: 3-9 p.m., Friday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday. Madison, Omaha and Indianapolis: 5-9 p.m., Monday; 3-9 p.m., Tuesday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Wednesday. Sioux Falls: 5-9 p.m., Thursday; 3-9 p.m., Friday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday

Cold weather kicks off Ice fishing season

MADISON - Cold weekend weather helped firm up ice in many parts of Wisconsin to kick off what is often some of the best fishing of the hard water season, state fish biologists say.

"Early ice fishing can be some of the best fishing for walleye, bigger game fish, for a lot of species," says Steve Avelallemant, fisheries supervisor for northern Wisconsin. "Especially on those lakes that are shallow and weedy. The fish seem to be accessible and biting more early in the hard water season. Any time before Christmas."

Fishing pressure nearly triples in December in Wisconsin after lakes freeze over, based on results from a 2006-7 statewide mail survey of anglers. Fully one-third of the state's 1.4 million licensed anglers reported ice fishing, and they spent about 1,589,000 hours in December alone, up from 624,000 hours in November of that year, according to Brian Weigel, the DNR fisheries researcher who analyzed the survey results.

Fishing friends
Ice fishing with your buddies, can anything beat it?
WDNR Photo

Across the entire ice fishing season, anglers caught 14 million fish in the survey year and released more than half of them during the survey year.

Avelallemant advises that ice anglers who want to maximize their chances of catching fish go to a lake with a good northern pike population. "Northern pike, when you look at their distribution worldwide, you'll find them all the way up into the Arctic Circle. They prefer cold water. Pike tend to get cranked up when it gets cold."

He advises that anglers check in with local bait shops to find out what the walleye are hitting on, and fish that. "A pike will take whatever you throw down," he says.

How to fish for panfish, pike and walleye

Panfish, northern pike and walleye are most frequently caught in the winter, with 11.7 million, 866,000, and 750,000, respectively, based on the mail survey results. Four northern Wisconsin fish biologists who are avid ice fishermen share their secrets for success in targeting the big three:


"Panfish are creatures of habit and habitat. They tend to be in the same general areas every winter. Don’t waste a lot of time looking for that secret honey hole away from the crowds. You’re probably just moving away from the fish. Instead, getting out there at the crack of dawn may put you on a hot bite before ever-increasing crowd activity puts the fish off. Most any tackle works when panfish are in a biting mood but most of time they will be in a neutral or negative mood. Light tackle is a big advantage to tease out a bite from reluctant fish. Quality 2- or 3-pound test mono with a limber rod to absorb any sudden shocks will handle most panfish situations. The line should stay soft and supple in the cold. If your tear drop can’t pull the kinks out you’re not even going to detect bites that could have been a fish in the bucket. Bobbers are still popular bite detectors but the smallest one possible that barely holds the bait up is best. Even then bites won’t always take the bobber down. It takes some experience to learn when to set a hook on a bobber wiggle. Wire or spring steel bite detectors on the end of the rod are the most sensitive. They also let you detect bites while you raise or lower your bait. Slowly pulling your bait up and away from a fish you spot on your fish finder often triggers a strike. On good bite days, fish are actively milling around and you can sit in one spot and wait for the fish. On slow days, the fish are pretty stationary. If you drop a bait right down on a resting school you’ll often get one or two to bite right away and then nothing bites even if you can still see fish on your finder. Since fish aren’t moving, you have to move from hole to hole picking up a few here and there for a meal." - Larry Damman, fisheries biologist, Spooner

Northern pike

Northern pikeEarly ice offers some nice rewards,

like this 22-inch pike caught on

Butternut Lake in Price County

Dec. 5, 2010.  Skip Sommerfeldt photo

"When pike are active during early ice there is really no best time to fish. That's one of the reasons pike are so popular during winter - morning, mid-day, or afternoon can all be excellent times to catch pike. My advice? Keep it simple. Don't out-think your opponent. Pike are low on the evolutionary scale and supposedly have a brain that is 1/1305 of its body weight (Becker 1983). No need to get too fancy. Also, split the difference. Many anglers when setting tip-ups place their bait a certain distance off the bottom. For example, say water depth is 12 feet. Find bottom and set your bait one or two feet off bottom. If you are fishing in vegetation, my general rule is to think in halves. Twelve feet of water –put your bait at six feet. This serves two purposes. First, vegetation is still occupying a fair portion of the water column at early ice. If you place you bait based on x feet from the bottom there is a good chance it’s in the vegetation. No sight – no bite. Second, predators like northern pike cruise the water column. Even if they are near the bottom they can find prey above them. The opposite is less likely to be true." - Terry Margenau, fisheries supervisor, Spooner.


"Our surveys show that this is the best time all winter to put a walleye on the ice. Caution should be used at this time of year as ice thickness can very greatly even on the same body of water.

Skip Sommerfeldt

Walleye fishing can be fantastic during

the early hard water season, as this 23-inch

walleye caught and released in 2010 shows.

Walleye will be on the feed during this time period and frequenting the same places they were looking for a meal in late summer and fall. Deep weed flats and outside edges are the key sites to look for. Once ice and snow are on a lake finding these sites on your favorite lake may be difficult. Open water scouting and a GPS make finding these spots much easier and saves a lot of hole drilling. Walk softly on the ice and set up and wait away from your tip ups. Too much commotion on only a few inches of clear ice will spook fish.

Most anglers use tip ups, though jigging can also be very effective, baited with small sucker or medium golden shiners. Set some tip ups with each because on some lakes walleye sometimes show a preference for one over the other. Use light monofilament or fluorocarbon leaders (6- to 10-pound test) that are 2-plus feet long. Also try to use smaller sharp #10 or #8 (even #12) treble hooks because this makes the bait look more natural." - Steve Gilbert, fisheries biologist, Woodruff.

"My trick for walleye fishing . . . . just go fishing a lot! Actually, the key for me is that I mostly fish at prime time (the hour before dark), and I concentrate on break lines and substrate edges in 8 feet to 12 feet of water. As for bait, I mostly use medium-size suckers and fish them 4 inches to 6 inches off the bottom with my tip-ups." Skip Sommerfeldt, fisheries biologist, Park Falls.

Check out his predictions for ice fishing in 2010-11 and the daily diary Skip Sommerfeldt kept last hard water season, when he fished 68 days in a row. And learn how to make ice fishing fun for kids and the adults who bring them.

ice claws
Ice claws: nail heads are ground off to a point and then covered with corks to prevent injury. The cord, made to the correct length, can be worn inside the jacket with each claw inside a sleeve. Or they can be draped over the shoulder and inside the coat. The wooden dowels and nylon cord will float, so they are accessible in an emergency.
WDNR Photo

Take steps to prevent going through the ice

Early ice can also be treacherous ice, so it's important to take a few basic safety precautions, warns DNR Recreation Safety Chief Todd Schaller.

"Check in with local bait shops so you know ice conditions before you go," Schaller says. "Tell someone where you're going and when you'll be back, and then go prepared with some basic equipment to help yourself or others should something happen, like wearing a float coat or carrying picks and a rope."

Follow rules to prevent spreading fish diseases

Ice anglers eager to start the hard water season are reminded to take steps to prevent spreading VHS and other fish diseases and aquatic invasive species.

Viral hemorrhagic septicemia, a virus that can infect several dozen fish species and cause them to bleed to death, was confirmed in 2010 in fish from Lake Superior. The disease has now been confirmed in all of the Great Lakes.

Avelallemant credits anglers for helping contain the disease -- it has not been detected in new inland waters since it was confirmed in the Lake Winnebago system in 2007 -- and says that the VHS prevention steps are helping keep Wisconsin fish healthy from other invasive diseases and species.

"Our lakes are under constant threat from invasive species. There's over 200 invasive species in the Great Lakes alone," he says. "The same tactics for preventing VHS will also help prevent the next one."

They are:

  • Follow bait rules. Buy bait from Wisconsin bait dealers. If you take minnows home after a day fishing and you’ve added lake water or fish to their container, you can return with them only to that same waterbody the next day.
  • Preserve bait correctly if you catch your own. If you use smelt or other dead bait, preserve it in a way that does not require freezing or refrigeration. Watch the video Preserving Your Bait [VIDEO Length 2:48] for more information.
  • Don’t move live fish away from the water. Keep the fish you catch and want to take home on the ice until you leave at the end of the day, or carry them away in a dry bucket.
  • Drain all water from your equipment. That includes all buckets and containers of fish. When you’re leaving the ice, you may carry up to 2 gallons of water in which to keep your minnows.

Following these rules will protect Wisconsin lakes and rivers and anglers’ pocketbooks: a citation for carrying live fish away from a water runs $343.50, while the penalty for failing to drain the water from fishing equipment is $243.

Online fishing resource for the hard water season

Visit Ice Fishing Wisconsin for reports on what's biting where, tips for great fishing and for successful outings with kids, lists of places to go fishing, and more.

Wisconsin Ice Fishing Fast Facts
  • Wisconsin has 1.4 million licensed anglers, and about one-third that number report they ice fish.
  • Ice fishing trails only sledding, snowmobiling and ice skating outdoors as the most popular of outdoor winter activities.
  • Anglers spent 11 million hours ice fishing in 2006, the most recent year for which statistics are available. That's 21 percent of the total 52 million hours spent fishing across all of the 2006-7 license year.
  • Anglers reported catching 14 million fish while ice fishing, and keeping 6.6 million of them, or less than half. During the open water season, about one-third of all fish caught are kept.
  • Panfish, northern pike and walleye, are the top species caught, in order, with 11.7 million, 866,000, and 750,000, respectively.

Source: DNR statewide mail survey of anglers during 2006-7 license year; SCORP 2010

Ice not safe, snowmobile trails not yet ready for riding

Officials from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are reminding snowmobilers and others to stay off lakes because the ice is not safe yet.

According to the DNR, there have already been several ice rescues involving snowmobiles. Also, one fatality occurred when a man on foot broke through thin ice on Lake Washington in Blue Earth County.

“We’re telling snowmobilers and others to please stay off of lakes until there is at least five inches of new, clear ice,” said Lt. Dave Olsen, DNR Enforcement, Grand Rapids “Early season riders are often tempted to ride on lakes. But they are not yet safe for snowmobiles, ATVs, or even walking, in most cases.”


And even though there is snow, many trails are not yet ready for riding, according to DNR Northeast Parks and Trails Operations Manager Scott Kelling.


Snowmobile clubs and trail crews are out working on the trails now, but it could be some time before all the trails are ready. When the trails do open, people should continue to watch for hazards, especially if they are on unfamiliar ground.


“It takes at least a couple of passes with the groomer tractors to get trails into mid-season form,” said Kelling. “On their early runs, groomer operators often encounter areas that are too wet or not frozen enough to safely get through. Some stretches simply need more time and cold weather before they can be groomed.”


Several conditions must be met before trails are ready and legally open for travel:


  • Trails must be cleared of dead falls, signs need to be in place and gates need to be opened.

  • Bridges need to be checked and needed repairs made. Many trails and bridges were affected by heavy rains last summer. Snowmobile club volunteers and DNR crews are finishing repairs.

  • The ground must be frozen enough to allow crossing of wet areas.

  • Trails must have adequate snow cover for grooming. Up to 12 inches of snow can pack down to a base of only an inch or two.


Many snowmobile trails cross private land. Generally, landowner permission for snowmobile use on those trails began Dec. 1 and extends through March. That permission is for snowmobiles only and other uses are trespasses, according to the DNR.


Also, riders must follow the snowmobile safety requirements when riding along public road rights-of-way. For example, it is illegal to ride on the inside slope, shoulder, and roadway of state or county roads.


Minnesota has more than 20,000 miles of groomed snowmobile trails. Snowmobile trail maintenance costs are partially funded through snowmobile registrations, trail pass sales, and gas tax attributed to snowmobile use.


Donations, fundraisers, and volunteer work by trail clubs make up the remainder of the costs and efforts to operate these trails. Club volunteers do most of the maintenance. Trail clubs always need more help and welcome new members to help keep trails open and join in other club activities.


Snowmobilers can check state trail conditions, maps and regulations on the DNR website or by calling 651-296-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367. Trail conditions are updated every Thursday throughout the season.


Trail information and local contacts are also listed on the back of DNR Snowmobile Trail maps for each quadrant of the state (NW, NE, SW, SE). Printed maps are available at local DNR offices and also can be ordered, printed or viewed from the DNR website.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

WDNR - DNR Outdoor Report - December 2, 2010


GENERAL | Northern Region | Northeast Region | Southeast Region | South Central Region | West Central Region

Hunters registered a preliminary tally of more than 218,000 deer over Wisconsin’s nine-day regular gun deer season, an 11 percent increase over the 2009 nine-day season. The opener was highlighted by good hunting conditions and no firearm-related fatalities for only the second time on record. Statewide, hunters registered 102,000 bucks, a 17 percent increase over 2009 and 116,000 antlerless deer, a nearly 7 percent increase over 2009. Gun deer license sales totaled more than 621,000, about a 3 percent decline from 2009.

A muzzleloader gun deer hunt is now underway statewide and there is an antlerless deer hunt Dec. 9-12 open to hunters with a valid antlerless deer tag for the unit in which they are hunting. Finally, there is a Holiday deer hunt in CWD zones in south central Wisconsin that starts Dec. 24 and lasts until Jan. 9. Other hunters, including archery and small game, are reminded that the blaze-orange clothing requirement remains in place whenever any type of gun deer season is progress, and all other people enjoying the outdoors are urged to wear blaze orange or other brightly colored clothing.

Ice is forming on lake across Wisconsin, and many small ponds and marshes have frozen over. In the north, some lakes have a thin layer of ice, while in the south some smaller bays of lakes can have iced over and a few early ice anglers have been reported out. But state recreational safety specialists are urging anglers to stay off the ice until there is at least 3 inches of solid clear ice, and they remind everyone that there is no such thing as completely safe ice. Ice depths can be several inches thick in one location, and just an inch or so thick just a few feet away.

There are still reports of ducks being seen in southern Wisconsin, but as lakes freeze over they will be pushed south. A reminder that the southern zone duck season closes Dec. 5. There are still some pheasants around for late season pheasant hunters, and there were even some pheasant hunters out pursuing their goal of a nice rooster during the nine-day gun deer season.

A winter storm is in the forecast for this weekend that could leave up to 8 or more inches of snow in some areas. While the new snow will be tempting for skiers, most state parks and forests will probably not have groomed trails. Parks and forests with property open to the late gun deer seasons will wait until those seasons have closed to groom trails. Others may begin trail preparation by packing down trails, but it will take additional snow before actual trail grooming can take place.

Rafts of ducks were being seen along the shores of Lake Michigan including scaup, buffleheads, goldeneyes, and gadwall. Flocks of snow geese have also been seen and heard passing through the state in the last week. Pine siskins, tufted titmouse, flickers, and purple finches are showing up at bird feeders.

A three-minute audio version of this report can be heard by calling (608) 266 2277 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (608) 266 2277 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

A new report is put on the line each week.

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Park Falls DNR Service Center area

Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - Most of the lakes in the Upper Chippewa Basin currently have a thin covering of ice. However, ice thickness is very thin and all lakes have less than 2 inches of ice in the deep water areas out away from shore. In addition, the rain and mild temperatures of early in the week softened up the ice and has made even the slightly thicker ice in the shallow bay areas very hazardous as well. The ice is not yet considered safe for any kind of travel and all people are urged to stay off of any lakes or ponds. Cold weather later in the week may firm up the ice and add some thickness, and at that point the first ice anglers may start to appear when 4 inches of solid ice are available. The ice thickness at several spots on Butternut Lake over the last couple days was real variable. On Tuesday, Nov. 30, there was still an open-water area out in the middle and thickness ranged from 1 to 3.5 inches up near shore in a couple spots. In addition, the ice had gotten pretty soft from the rain and upper 30-degree temperatures on Monday and Tuesday. No sign of any ice anglers yet – though there were several reports of anglers out on a shallow bay on the Phillips Chain and one on the south end of Butternut Lake. It will likely take a few more nights of temperatures in the low teens to give the shallow bays thick enough ice to walk on (4" or more).

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Peshtigo DNR Service Center area

Governor Thompson State Park - The first ice anglers were out this past weekend. The park is now closed to hunting for the year. Construction on the new campground has stopped for the winter. In spring the new septic systems, water systems, fire rings, picnic tables, and water fountains will all need to be installed. Our 16 miles of hiking trails are open and now is a great time to go hiking! Leaves are now off the trees, and visitors can see all the hidden geological features that cannot be seen in the summer months.

Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area

Whitefish Dunes State Park - Despite the cooler weather, wildlife is out and about within the park. Down on the beach, large waves bring shells. These are invasive species called zebra and quagga mussels. Red-breasted mergansers and buffleheads rafted up in large numbers over the weekend. A flock of snow geese were heard and seen flying over the park one early morning. An immature bald eagle has been sighted during the mornings soaring over the beach. In the forest the rut is near the end and bucks are still moving around. Chickadees and nuthatches can be seen in large numbers throughout the forested dunes. A hike along the black or brachiopod trail will provide a glimpse of various woodpeckers; redheaded, pileated, downy and hairy. Increasing porcupine chewing and sightings have occurred on the red trail. By the creek a bit of green foliage can still be viewed while most of the park has changed to various shades of brown. As winter draws closer, park staff will be working to finish preparing trails for skiing. Mark your calendars for the annual Candlelight Ski on Saturday, Jan. 29. Volunteers are needed to help set out and pick up candles along with staff the shelter building refreshment table. Whitefish Dunes State Park was open for the first time to deer hunting during Wisconsin’s regular gun deer season. The park will not be open to hunting during any other early or late-season deer hunts, included in herd reduction areas, muzzleloader dates, special youth or disabled hunts, or other special hunting opportunities. While hunting enhances recreational opportunities in the parks, its primary objective is vegetative and resource management. The entire beach is now open to dogs. Pets must be on a leash no longer than 8 feet at all times. Once snow falls pets are not allowed on or along side groomed ski trails.

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No reports.

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Dodgeville DNR Service Center area

Blue Mound State Park - The Campground is open year-round. Camping is walk in only during the winter months. There will be a candlelight ski/hike/snowshoe on Saturday Jan. 1.

Horicon DNR Service Center area

Dodge County - Horicon Marsh is completely frozen. Large flocks of mallards and black ducks have been see in cornfields in the Horicon and Waupun area. Also a few flocks of snow geese have also been sighted.

Fitchburg DNR Service Center area

Dane County - Some part of the lakes are starting to freeze but ice conditions are definitely not safe to venture out onto to ice fish. Deer season in Dane County seemed to be fairly successful. Hunting numbers seemed to be about average but numerous harvested deer were observed as well as numerous alive deer as well. Hunters are encouraged to take part in the remaining seasons that are open (muzzle loader, 4 day December Hunt and Holiday Hunts). During the deer season several waterfowl hunters and pheasant hunters were contacted and they seemed to be having decent success as some hard to get to spots are freezing up and allowing hunters to get to areas that have not been hunted much.

Janesville DNR Service Center area

Rock County - Most ponds and lakes have frozen over in the last couple days, but hunters and anglers should be careful of thin ice. The regular 9 day gun deer season ended without any gun related injuries reported in the county. The harvest was slightly higher than last year for the opening weekend. The lack of crops and mild weather most of the season allowed for hunters to see the deer and stay in the field longer. There is still time to harvest a deer and put some venison in the freezer as the muzzleloader season opened Monday followed by the four-day antlerless season. The archery deer season is also still open through Jan. 9, 2011. There are still some pheasants around for late season pheasant hunters, and there were even some pheasant hunters out pursuing their goal of a nice rooster during the nine-day gun deer season. Rain has helped deteriorate the little bit of ice that had formed and geese are keeping open some sections of water on ponds. Many large flocks of ducks were still being observed in Rock County. Trappers are out in force trying to catch their last bit of fur before temperatures and snow make things more difficult. Trappers continue to harvest muskrats, mink, and coyotes. The raccoon harvest for trappers and hunters has slowed with the colder nights. A few otter have also been registered the last couple weeks in Rock County.

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Baldwin DNR Service Center area

Willow River State Park - Ice fishing has started on the lake. Anglers reported about 4 inches of ice. Archery hunting for deer continues on the open parts of the park. Relatively few people come out for that hunting season. A saw-whet owl was observed this week along the Willow Falls trail. Measurable snowfall is predicted for the weekend starting Dec. 3. Big wind to shake the snow out of the trees is not predicted. Spotty coverage under the pines may not provide enough snow to groom for skiing. Depending on snow conditions trails may remain open to hiking or change to ski trails only. That decision will probably come on Saturday. All trails are open to hiking as of Thursday. Any changes over the weekend will show up on the skinnyski web site before they post here. Non skiers should call the office. Early season skiing has its challenges. Is the trail going to have enough snowfall, or base to support your skis? The first snowfall and subsequent rolling by the groomer can still leave a very thin base with no classic track. On the flats (or anywhere), if classic skis go through the base it can rub on the ground. The ski can get slowed down or stopped suddenly. What if both skis grab ground? How about downhill? Take care when you ski on that early snow if it is thin. Beginners should probably stick to the flatter trails and walk any down hills off trail. Skaters will probably have an easier time on the thin snow. Most skiers in this area don’t own back country (classic) skis, generally 60mm or wider at the narrow point. A wider and softer ski offers more floatation. These would be a better choice than racing or touring skis. Some models are built too wide for track skiing. On the flats by the beach, field, and dam area, skiers can cut their own classic track and the touring skis work fine. If the groomer is reporting a thin base early (www.skinnyski.com), arrive with choices. The Willow River Nordic skiers will resume training on selected weeknights when trails are in skiing condition. Adult ski lessons are planned for Saturdays Dec. 11 and 18. Lessons run 9 a.m. to noon stating at the Nature Center. Learn to skate ski or diagonal stride (classic.) Contact the park office to sign up. Instructors are all active racers or retired from the marathon length events. The student must provide the equipment. Unfortunately, rentals are not available nearby. In the event of not enough snow, a possible alternative could be a ski waxing clinic and some dry land training. Even “no wax” skis need waxing.

La Crosse DNR Service Center area

People looking for some late season hunting opportunities, may want to set their sights on squirrels. These abundant mammals are found statewide and offer plenty of challenges for beginning and advanced hunters alike. Squirrels remain active throughout winter but will hole up for several days during the nastiest winter weather. With a daily bag limit of five and an open season that runs through Jan. 31, there are numerous opportunities for hunters. Be sure to comply with blaze orange laws when squirrel hunting during open gun deer seasons. And do not forget to recycle those squirrel tails (deer tails too) by sending them to Sheldon's in Antigo, where they will be utilized for dressing Mepps fishing lures. No other natural or synthetic fiber can duplicate the desirable qualities for dressing spinner baits as squirrel hair. See the Mepps website for details: [http://www.mepps.com/programs/squirrel-tail/].

Black River Falls DNR Service Center area

Black River State Forest - Winter is fast approaching. Currently there is no snow yet but a few inches are forecast for this weekend. Crews will need a minimum of 6 inches of quality snow to be able to groom cross-country ski trails. Skiers will notice that there has been a fair amount of timber sale activity along the trails this year. Motorized trails will open Dec. 15 as long as the ground is frozen. With current conditions and the forecast this should definitely occur by then. Once trails are open if temperatures get above freezing we ask ATVs to stay off the trails to protect the base. Snowshoers are welcome to enjoy their sport on any ungroomed trail in the state forest. We recommend people try either the nature trail at Castle Mound Campground, a two mile circular loop, or the five mile trail from Pigeon Creek to Smrekar road. This trail can be accessed by the Smrekar parking lot by hiking west on Smrekar road. The trail intersects the road just when the road takes a sharp 90 degree turn north. The trail continues west to Pigeon Creek Campground. Please note this trail is not a loop so you will need to turn around and retrace your steps at some point. If you are with a group one option is to have at least one vehicle at Pigeon Creek and at least one at the Smrekar parking lot so you do not have to turn around. East Fork Campground is closed for the season and will not open until the middle of April. A few select sites will be plowed open at Castle Mound and Pigeon Creek this winter.

Wausau DNR Service Center area

Rib Mountain State Park - The road leading into the main portion of the park is now open. Please make note that construction activities are still taking place at the top of the mountain as we begin work on the new Public Entrance and Visitor Station. Lots of deer, woodchucks and even an occasional turkey have been seen. Trails are in excellent condition, we are working on developing new trails in the quarry area. Muzzeloader deer hunting is going on in certain areas of the park through Dec. 8. The park is open to all visitors, we recommend that non-hunters where blaze orange for safety purposes. Granite Peak Ski Area has begun to make snow in anticipation of the 2010-2011 ski season, please visit [www.skigranitepeak.com] (exit DNR) for more information.

Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area

Buckhorn State Park - The park and wildlife areas are open to late bow deer season. The park office registers deer when the office is open. Muzzleloader deer hunting is allowed in the Yellow River Wildlife Area and 1,200 acres of state park north of Cty G and north of 31st St. Waterfowl and small game hunting are allowed in the Yellow River Wildlife Area and Buckhorn Wildlife Area only, not in the state park. Check the current hunting maps for areas and rules. Note: there was an error in the deer regulations. Buckhorn is a REGULAR unit, not herd control. For does you must purchase a 54A doe tag. During the December 9-12 antlerless hunt you must use a unit specific tag (ex. 54A antlerless). The "T intersection" gate and gates on 22nd Ave and 33rd will be closed when roads are snow covered. A few Campsites are open for winter camping.

Roche-A-Cri State Park - The campground and main gate are now closed for the season. Parking is available at the winter lot on Czech Ave and that pit toilet is still open. Hunting is not allowed in Roche-A-Cri State Park.

WDNR - DNR Outdoor Report - December 2, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

DNR Public Meeting - Green Bay Great Lakes Spotted Musky Management Plan

December 2 – DNR Fisheries Staff will present the Draft Green Bay Great Lakes Spotted Musky Management Plan from 6-8 p.m. in the Auditorium at the Brown County Central Library, 515 Pine St., Green Bay. The purpose of the meeting is to review and get feedback on the draft management plan for the Green Bay muskellunge fishery and re-establishment program. The draft management plan identifies fisheries objectives, strategies and management recommendations to achieve the previously established goals for the fishery. For more information, please call David Rowe (920) 662-5480 or Mike Donofrio (715) 582-5050.

Monday, November 29, 2010

WCSFO MEETING MINUTES from October 16, 2010

WCSFO website

October 16, 2010

President John Durben began our meeting at 9:18 a.m.  Long time ex-President Ted Lind was not in attendance.

Secretary and media director, Larry Van Veghel, of the Wisconsin Fishing Club Ltd., read the minutes from our statewide spring meeting.  The minutes were approved as read.

New Treasurer Cornell Stroik ably read the Treasurer’s report. He said we have $5384.82 in our checking account, and we have $3,061.00 even in our savings account.  The Treasurer’s report was approved as read.  President Durben submitted a few bills including that for our post office box.

We discussed our continual meeting topic of attracting more members. We have representative vacancies for Muskies, Panfish, Inland Trout and other species, per our spring meeting. Our mailing and dues lists will be updated.  Dues forms for 2010 will go out at the beginning of the year.  Clubs remaining behind are more than urged to “catch up.”

Per George Meyer, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation (WWF), the musky season still starts in June up north. The legislators must react to change this.

The no phosphorous in fertilizer bill was passed.

The Invasive Aquatic Plants and Species Bill is being enforced by wardens, especially when it is blatantly disobeyed. Boat washers were suggested, as they work quite well, but they are too expensive to have at all state launches.

The Department of Agriculture is still looking into a ban on Mercury usage, per Meyer.

With launch expert Lind not in attendance, Meyer covered the boat launching news. We voted to support having a launch in Rawley’s Bay in Door County. Although having numerous rock piles, per WCSFO secretary Van Veghel’s having fished here, there is a safety need for having a launch as there is a long distance between Lake Michigan launches. Van Veghel said that this has long been the back-up, safety site launch for the Washington Island ferries that cross the dangerous Devil’s Door between the Door County Peninsula tip and Washington Island’s Detroit Harbor.

Meyers said the North Lake launch continues to be hung up in court by the North Lake Association personnel.

The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation is pushing for removing wolves from the Federal endangered species list in our state. We have over 762 wolves. The DNR did not stock any of these wolves. These omnivores crossed the borders of Minnesota and Upper Michigan and have reproduced. Van Veghel stated this is because we have deer with CWD, and wolves prey on sick or weak deer. A majority of members’ present advisory voted to support this removal, even though we are a fishery and fish habitat organization.

Per Treasurer Cornell Stroik, who represents the bass anglers of Wisconsin, it was Gerry McGinnis who bought B.A.S.S. away from ESPN. McGinnis is an avid angler who had a long running family TV fishing show.

The Bass Federation, TBF, is reorganizing with “good” officers. TBF is a WCSFO member organization. Stroik also gave us an update on C.A.S.T., our offshoot tournament education organization.

Under “Old Business,” Meyers offered to work with Stroik on this project. Meyers asked if we should have a meeting. WCSFO members are urged to email their comments on this to President Durben, plus Meyers and Stroik. Secretary Van Veghel, due to having the impatience brought on by having cancer, requested that something finally be done on this, as C.A.S.T. has been bringing this up for years. After many years of service, Warren Zaren has retired from C.A.S.T., and only Stroik continues working toward getting things accomplished.

Meyers will send a draft to Mike Staggs asking to put oxygen requirements into the tournament permit request. He also added that he will state that permit requests require mandatory training before issuance to insure that tournaments are correctly and safely run.

Look for a DNR Advisory Board Question in the 2011 Spring Hearings asking if all lakes in southeast Wisconsin should have a 3 walleye 18 inch bag limit. At this time, there is absolutely no biological reason for this regulation.

Mike Staggs, Director Bureau of Fisheries Management, WDNR, unable to attend in spring was not able to attend this fall due to end-of-the-year state budget restraints.

Our March 29, 2011 statewide spring meeting is scheduled for Gander Mountain in Franklin, WI where attendees normally get a discount.  This is the third Saturday of the month. Mark your calendars.

For representation, member clubs MUST send their delegates.  New member clubs are always welcome as are new individual and business members.

Respectively submitted,

L.A. Van Veghel

WCSFO Secretary & Media Director

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

2010 Angler Education Workshops

Angler Education

These workshops focus on teaching basic spincasting and incorporating related topics in a K-12 curriculum. School teachers, fishing club members, and community youth fishing program leaders are invited.

Please check back from time to time for updates to this schedule. Unless otherwise noted, all workshops are free of charge and include lunch or dinner, however, we do have a $15 workshop commitment fee to ensure good attendance by registrants. Please arrive a few minutes early to settle in so that we may begin on time. If your plans change, please notify us so that we may plan accordingly and refund your workshop commitment fee. Pre-registration is required.

To schedule a volunteer or teacher training workshop in your community, please contact Theresa Stabo, Aquatic Resources Educator, (608) 266-2272. We need a minimum of 8 to 12 adult participants, depending on location, to hold a workshop.

General Angler Education Instructor Training

No general workshops are currently scheduled. We'll post them as we learn of the details.

Teacher Conferences

Look for us at teachers' conferences!

Photo: Instructors-In-Training test sample non-lead sinkers at a Rhinelander workshop.

Green Bay Great Lakes Spotted Musky Management Plan Meeting

December 2 – DNR Fisheries Staff will present the Draft Green Bay Great Lakes Spotted Musky Management Plan from 6-8 p.m. in the Auditorium at the Brown County Central Library, 515 Pine St., Green Bay. The purpose of the meeting is to review and get feedback on the draft management plan for the Green Bay muskellunge fishery and re-establishment program. The draft management plan identifies fisheries objectives, strategies and management recommendations to achieve the previously established goals for the fishery. For more information, please call David Rowe (920) 662-5480 or Mike Donofrio (715) 582-5050.

Southern Lake Michigan Fishing Report: November 15, 2010

Kenosha Co.

No report.
Racine Co.
On the Root River in Racine fishing remains relatively decent. Water temperatures are in the mid-40s, clarity is good, but water levels are low. Most anglers have been picking up coho salmon and brown trout. Catches of steelhead have been limited, and most have been taken downstream from the weir. Fish have been caught on both spawn sacs under a bobber and on medium sized, brightly colored flies. Fish were processed at the Root River Steelhead Facility on Monday, November 8, and an additional 34 chinooks, 262 coho, 50 rainbows, and 2 browns were passed upstream. So far this season, DNR crews have spawned 756 coho at the Root and collected over 850,000 eggs. The facility will be shut down on Tuesday, November 16.
Milwaukee Co.
In Milwaukee shore fishing has been relatively slow along the lakefront. In the Milwaukee River browns and steelhead have been seen downstream of Capitol Drive, and egg sucking leeches and yarn have both been effective for fly anglers. Water levels are low and fishing has been slow on the Menomonee River and Oak Creek.
Ozaukee Co.
In Port Washington, shore anglers have been catching a mix of rainbows and browns on skein in the north slip and near the power plant. Fishing on Sauk Creek has been slow, and water levels are very low.
Sheboygan Co.
In Sheboygan anglers on the Sheboygan River have been catching a mixed bag of coho, rainbows, and browns between Esslingen Park and the Kohler dam. A few northern pike have been taken as well. Most anglers have been fly fishing, but a few fish have been taken on spawn sacs also.

Lake Mille Lacs walleye regulation to change Dec. 1

(Released November 15, 2010)

Walleye anglers who fish Lake Mille Lacs are reminded that effective Dec. 1, the regulation allows them to keep four walleye up to 18 inches, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

All walleye between 18-and 28-inches must be immediately released. One walleye more than 28 inches is allowed in possession.

Information about fishing regulations is available online.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Gamefish on the humps

Humping For Late Fall Open Water Gamefish

A cold wind crept down his back, but he did his best to ignore it. He knew soon that the ice fishing season would arrive. He liked to cast and fight his quarry in open water. It was big fish season, and a real outdoorsman and a veteran of snowy, frigid Packers games could take it.

He continued to cast…retrieve…cast…retrieve. The repetitive motion helped keep him warm as did a thermos of hot coffee. He made a well-honed cast toward and just beyond some broadleaved aquatic plants and began his retrieve.

Read more ►


Paul Redel with a typical largemouth that hit his special balloon tipped Mepps inline spinner.

Photo: Courtesy Paul Redel

Lawrence Van Veghel

Milwaukee Fishing Examiner

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Green Bay Area Great Lakes Sportfishing Club October Speaker

Greg Ellison of Traxstech will speak about boat rigging.. This could be a very interesting topic and good for new boat owners as well as old seasoned owners looking for an update.

The meeting will be held on Thursday night, October 21, at 7:00 PM at the Stadium View Sports Bar & Grill located at 1963 Holmgren Way in Green Bay.

Monday, October 18, 2010

"Open-House" at C.D. “Buzz” Besadny Anadromous Fish Facility

Attached is a short bonus video showing the process used to get the salmon eggs needed for the hatcheries. The fish that are hatched are eventually planted back into Lake Michigan.

John E.Durben video

DNR Hosts Open House at C.D. “Buzz” Besadny Anadromous Fish Facility

By John E. Durben
(Kewaunee, WI.) The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) hosted an "open-house" at C.D. “Buzz” Besadny Anadromous Fish Facility on Saturday, October 9. Activities at the open-house included guided tours of the the facility, underwater viewing windows to watch the salmon jump the man-made fish ladder, fly tying demonstrations, fly casting lessons, tee-shirt stamping, Lake Michigan trolling with a boat set up for the sport, various activities for the kids, a chance to learn the salmon egg collection process and more. 

The Hatchery is located near Kewaunee, WI., and the open-house was carefully planned to coincide with the salmon spawning cyle. There were many anglers there with visions of catching some of those big fish, I know because I was one of them.

  • Top Left: One of the workers in the hatchery sorting the fish that have just been released from the fish elevator.
  • Top Right: Stripping the milk from the maile fish to mix with the eggs.
  • Middle Left: Mona gets a free fly casting lesson
  • Middle Right: The lobby area of the building where guests can view what's happening in the hatchery.
  • Bottom Left: Photo of one of the viewing windows where guests can watch the Salmon as they try to make their way up the Kewaunee River.
  • Bottom Right: Salmon staging in one of the pools as they rest before trying to make another attempt at getting on more step closer to their spawing area.
All photos by John E. Durben

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

WCSFO Fall Meeting

Date: October 16, 2010
Time: 10:00 a.m.
Location: Walleyes for Tomorrow Office, 224 Auburn, Fond Du Lac WI

Club Delegates are urged to attend - All Club Members are welcome

Meeting Agenda:
1. Call to order / Introductions / sign in
2. Minutes from March 20, 2010 Spring Meeting (L.A. Van Veghel)
3. Treasurers Report (Cornell Stroik)
4. Organization Update
  • Treasury – Transition Update
  • Membership
5. Dues Notices (2011)
6. WDNR Updates – The DNR was unable to provide a representative to attend our meeting this fall however, Mike Staggs provided us with some updates in the attachment that accompanies this notice. (We will review them at the meeting.
7. Online newsletter (Need email addresses/subscribers and newsletter content info to disburse). This ties together, but if we want to provide info – we need contacts and info. Majority of info at this time is being provided by the WDNR via news releases and other material from L.A. Van Veghel.
8. WI Wildlife Federation Update (George Meyer)
9. Lake access news (Ted Lind)
10. B.A.S.S. Federation News (Cornell Stoik)
11. Tournaments/C.A.S.T. – Updates/News
12. “Kids Fishing Klinics,” Update for 2011
13. Old Business:
  1. WWF/WCSFO Tournament-Seminar Sept./Oct. this year (Stevens Point? Good Idea but never happened.)
  2. Kids Fishing Book
14. New Business:
15. Adjourn

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Pike, largemouth bass & walleyes remain active into Dog Days

Roger Stack is the owner of R&R Sports, aka fishin' hole, and he's been in business for decades. His large, current store is at 3115 E. Layton Ave., Cudahy, WI 53110, (414) 481-6888.

My favorite St. Croix panfish rod had suffered a life-ending blow, so I'd retired it to tomato plant stick status. Of almost 70 ready-to-go rod and reel set-ups, this had been my most productive set-up. It was light, and so was the sturdy metal, black Browning spinning reel.

I was replaceing the St. Croix with a longer version, as I had done in the past. I toss light, plastic-bodied Dick Smith Panfish Grubs, so I wanted additional casting distance while having excellent feel of even the lightest bites. I place the line in the crease of my index finger, so as to feel bites that finger tip callouses would not notice. 4# Fireline Crystal line went onto the reel. The line that had been on it when the reel was bought had been the worst line I'd ever had regarding coiling and coming off en masse' from the reel spool. The line had more memory than could a herd of elephants.

At the other end of the spectrum was the South Bend musky rod that had decided to break rather than be bent to fit into a smaller space than was possible. The panfish rod was needed for Friday of the same week, and Saturday required the musky rod.

This time, I asked Stack's advice. I wanted to go into the 7' to 7'-6" range, as current musky pros were using longer rods in place of the old broom stick models. Besides my brass Shimano Calcutta looked awful sad and lonely mounted to the reel seat of the old, broken rod. Not knowing how I'd react to my cancer treatments and with professional fishing rod suggestions from Stack, I again went with a St. Croix rod. It was longer and lighter than the previous rod, and it had excellent backbone. The Shimano reel and this rod were a perfect match. I added some off white crankbaits because new lures always help motivate.

The Fishin' Hole is known for its accurate, over-the-phone, fishing reports. You'll get plenty of fishing related advertising, but the reports are excellent. Stack covers effective baits, depths, active species and lots more.

Roger told me the bass were coming from along drop-offs, and anglers have been catching these fish on dropshots with 7" plastic worms along weedlines during the day. My success had been on black Chatterbaits.

As he has for a few decades, Roger uses the Diving B's, by Berkley, along weedlines in 20-35 feet of water. This is where big pike and muskies suspend and watch for dinner to swim past. Smaller pike and muskies tend to inhabit the weed jungles. As the bottoms of the aquatic plants drop their leaves, pike and muskies have little trouble cruising in search of food.

With the welcomed normal summer weather consistancy, panfish are found in traditional locations including along drop-off and suspended off of drop-offs. Panfish anglers have had excellent success when using ice fishing jigs and Gulp.

By: L.A. Van Veghel - Milwaukee Fishing Examiner

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Spiny waterfleas discovered in Burntside Lake

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) confirmed that spiny waterfleas were discovered in Burntside Lake near Ely last week. They were discovered by an angler when he observed them collecting on fishing lines in the water.

“Spiny waterfleas can spread when boats, fishing or bait harvesting gear become contaminated with egg-laden females or when water from the infested lakes and rivers is transported,” said Rich Rezanka, DNR invasive species specialist. “Although the waterfleas can die between fishing trips, they might be carrying resting eggs that can begin a new infestation.”

Spiny waterfleas are currently found in Lake Superior, Mille Lacs Lake, Fish Lake, and the U.S.-Canadian border waters such as Lake of the Woods, Rainy Lake and Namakan Lake as well as lakes on the Gunflint Trail north of Grand Marias.

Spiny waterfleas can collect in masses, entangling on fishing lines, downrigger cables, and anchor lines. The masses can resemble gelatin or cotton batting with tiny black spots, which are the creatures’ eyes or eggs. Individual animals are difficult to distinguish without magnification because they are only one-fourth to five-eighths inch long.

Spiny waterfleas are zooplankton - microscopic animals like the Daphnia in lakes. They have a long tail spine with up to three pairs of barbs. As a predator, they eat other zooplankton, often becoming abundant in late summer and fall.

Anglers are often the first to discover spiny waterfleas because they become attached to fishing gear. The waterfleas can be a nuisance to anglers, collecting in gobs on fishing lines and downrigging cables.

Spiny waterfleas can change the species and numbers of zooplankton, which may harm those lake ecosystems. Native zooplankton are an important food source for small fish.

However, spiny waterfleas are not good forage and may actually compete with fish for desirable native zooplankton.

In response to this new infestation, the DNR will:
  • Designate Burntside as infested with spiny waterflea prohibiting the transport of water and requiring draining of livewells, bait containers, and bilges.
  • Update the signs at water accesses on Burntside to indicate the presence of the waterfleas.
  • Increase watercraft inspections and enforcement efforts at the water accesses
  • Provide area businesses with information on spiny waterfleas.
Before leaving the water access, boaters and anglers should:
  • Remove aquatic plants and animals, including gelatinous or cotton-batting-like material from fishing lines, downrigger cables, anchor ropes or waterfowl decoy cords.
  • Drain water from livewells, bait containers, and bilges by removing the drain plugs. (Those who want to keep live bait must replace lake or river water with tap or spring water.)
Boaters and anglers should also:
  • Dispose of unwanted live bait, fish parts, and worms in the trash.
  • Wash/spray the watercraft and gear with hot high pressure or hot tap water for several minutes before transporting to another water.
  • Dry the watercraft and gear thoroughly for at least 24 hours and preferably five days before transporting to other waters.
Experts believe spiny waterfleas originally arrived in the U.S. from Eurasia in the ballast water of cargo ships. They were first found in Lake Superior in 1987.

Wisconsin Fishing Club LTD to Host Meeting

Wisconsin Fishing Club, Ltd.

2010 - Our 44th year.

Aug. 9- Kevin Moore, tournament angler, IMTT 2006 Team of the Year and IMTT 2006 Pewaukee Champion, and guide, speaks on Secret Summer Musky Spots.
Free! Yester Years Pub & Grill, 9427 W. Greenfield Ave., West Allis, 414-476-9055. Contact
Dan Freiherr, Treasurer, 414-464-9316,. Fishing reports, fishing equipment raffle plus hot food is available.

Kevin Moore's Muskies, Etc. Guide Service website: http:\\www.muskiesetc.com

Our club is an active member of the Wisconsin Council of Sport Fishing Organizations.

Free Internet Milwaukee Fishing Examiner column at: http://www.examiner.com/x-15565-Milwaukee-Fishing-Examiner

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Inspection data shows minority of boaters increasing risk to lakes and river

Wardens will shift from education to enforcement of new aquatic invasive species law

MADISON – Surveys at boat landings across Wisconsin in summer 2010 show that 96 percent of people say they are following a new law to prevent the spread of Eurasian water-milfoil and other aquatic invasive species. But a few are leaving boat landings with aquatic plants attached, potentially putting scores of lakes and rivers at risk.

From May through late July, 182 people were observed arriving at boat launches with aquatic plants hanging off their boat trailers or boats, or driving away from boat launches at the end of the day with invasive plants attached, according to statewide reports entered through July 25 by boat inspectors and DNR Water Guards. Boat inspectors advise the boaters of the law and how to comply, but they do not have authority to issue warnings or citations. Survey results are available on the Department of Natural Resources website.

Chief Conservation Warden Randy Stark says that such numbers will spur conservation wardens and Water Guards to shift from educating boaters about the new law, to enforcing it. “Given the extensive media coverage and boater surveys at the landings showing high public awareness of the new law, we’ll begin transitioning to enforcing the law by issuing citations to those individuals who, by not complying, can erase the excellent efforts of the vast majority of boaters.”

The vast majority of Wisconsin’s lakes and rivers are free from the most problematic aquatic invasive species; a case over the July 4th weekend in Vilas County illustrates the threat such waters face from boaters who do not follow laws to prevent spreading aquatic invasive species or fish diseases.

DNR Water Guard John Preuss checked the public launch at pristine Allequash Lake in Vilas County and found a trailer with Eurasian water milfoil and zebra mussels hanging from it. When the boater returned to the launch, he told Preuss he was aware of aquatic species law but launched anyway with weeds attached. The man had fished earlier that week in Shawano Lake in Shawano County, which has aquatic invasives including Eurasian water-milfoil, rusty crayfish and zebra mussels. Preuss cited the man for launching a boat in state waters with invasive plants attached, which carries a penalty of $389.50 for a first time offense.

“The Vilas County AIS Partnership is very happy that (Water Guard) John Preuss chose to visit the landing that day and was vigilant in following through on the incident and issuing a citation,” says Ted Ritter, who coordinates invasive species efforts for Vilas County. He adds that the UW Trout Lake Center for Limnology has agreed to monitor Allequash Lake carefully to see if either zebra mussels or Eurasian water-milfoil get established in the lake from the incident, Ritter says.

Aquatic invasive species officials and public awareness campaigns have stressed to boaters the need to inspect their boats and remove any aquatic plants for the last 15-20 years. It’s illegal to launch or leave boat launches and drive on public roads with aquatic plants and animals attached, according to Bob Wakeman, who coordinates aquatic invasive species prevention and control for the DNR.

DNR conservation wardens, Water Guards, and the paid and volunteer watercraft inspectors statewide made a concerted push in the weeks leading up to the Fourth of July holiday, the busiest boating weekend of the year, to educate people about the laws. The effort netted extensive media coverage and wardens and Water Guards statewide issued dozens of warnings to boaters about the transport law, regional warden supervisors reported.

“Awareness of AIS is very high thanks to the efforts of many individuals and groups around the state that see this as a potential threat to the quality of the lakes in the state,” Stark says. “Enforcement of this new law will help support their work, and the good job most boaters are doing to remove aquatic plants and animals from their boats and trailers. We need everybody to do it, however, and hope the enforcement stick can get those last few boaters to comply.”

Lake by lake breakdown on boat inspections available

People can find additional information invasive species and control efforts in a new, user-friendly aquatic invasives database available on the Department of Natural Resources website.

Web users can find statewide statistics, as well as by county. The site provides data on boat inspection efforts, boater compliance and special projects to prevent or control invasive species. The information is displayed in easy to read pie charts and bar graphs, and it’s updated every 15 minutes to reflect the reports as they’re filed by more than 1,000 boat inspectors, both paid and volunteer, and by DNR Water Guards, according to Jennifer Filbert, who is developing the database and pages.

The site is a work in progress, and more features may be added in coming months, including more information about local projects to prevent or control the spread of aquatic invasive species, and interactive maps.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Keep an Eye on Your Boat Trailer and It Will Treat You Well

The BoatUS Trailering Club's Top 3 Reasons for Trailer Mishaps

ALEXANDRIA, Va- With the boating season now in full swing, the miles are starting to add up for the thousands of boaters and anglers trailering their boats and fishing rigs to their favorite waterway.

The BoatUS Trailering Club, which offers "Trailer Assist" roadside assistance for both disabled boat trailers and their tow vehicles, says if you want your trailer travels to remain trouble-free, now is the time to keep a close eye on your trailer for wear and damage.

So far this summer, the BoatUS 24-hour dispatch centers (800-391-4869) report the following top three reasons why boaters are requesting help, as well as some tips to ensure a smooth tow to the lake all summer long:

#1 Flat tires: Tires should be inspected before, during and after each trip, and inflated to proper PSI (usually 50 PSI). Having a spare in serviceable condition is key, along with a jack that works with your trailer (most vehicle jacks don't). Waiting to replace a tire that is worn or dry-rotted, or not properly inflated are sure-fire ways to disable a boat trailer quickly.

#2 Bearing problems: Bearings should be inspected, cleaned and repacked at least once a year - more if you boat in salt water or put a lot of miles on your rig. Keeping dust caps in place helps prevent premature wear. The best early indicator of bearing problems is to stop the rig periodically to feel the hubs for heat. It's normal for hubs to get warm, but they should not be hot to the touch.

#3 Axle problems: Axles don't last forever, especially those regularly immersed in salt water. Whether it's a torsion axle or standard leaf-spring mounted axle, pay close attention to any rust and corrosion - and that includes the fasteners (bolts) that keep it attached to the trailer.

Trailer Assist service is $14 annually, plus association membership of $24. For more information on the BoatUS Trailering Club and all of the services provided, visit www.BoatUS.com/trailerclub or call 800-395-2628.
About the BoatUS Trailering Club:

The BoatUS Trailering Club is from Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) - the nation's leading advocate for recreational boaters providing over half a million members with government representation, programs and money saving services. The Club's Trailer Assist program offers over 18,000 roadside service providers across North America with the experience and equipment to handle a disabled tow vehicle and trailer, and will tow both up to 100 miles to the nearest repair facility, safe location, or home. Flat tires, lock out service, ramp-winching are also included. For more visit www.BoatUS.com/trailerclub or call 800-395-2628.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wisconsin Outdoor Report as of July 22, 2010

Wisconsin continued to receive ample rain in the last week, keeping rivers and flowages running very high. Some areas of the state received as much as 5 additional inches of rain over the last week. The major rivers like the Black, Chippewa, Fox, Rock, Wisconsin and Mississippi area all running very high. Some northern rivers are high while others are closer to seasonal norms. Canoeists and kayakers on the Lower Wisconsin River should be aware that most sandbars are submerged, making it difficult to find camping spots. Many waters in both Columbia and Sauk counties are under slow-no-wake ordinances. Many of northern Wisconsin’s seepage lakes remain at a relatively low levels, but they have been creeping up with the slowly increasing ground water levels.

The unsettled weather has kept angling success real variable. In the north, musky continue to provide the most consistent action and are showing much more of a typical summer pattern. Top-water baits continue to be the most successful and some nice catches in the 36 to 42-inch size and some up to 48 inches have been reported. Bass and walleye fishing have both generally been slow. Panfish action has been fair, with decent catches of crappie, perch and rock bass reported, with bluegill a bit tougher to find.

Despite the storms of the last week, fishing pressure on Green Bay and Lake Michigan was heavy this week. A smallmouth bass tournament on Green Bay had around 100 boats hitting the water. Fishing was slow entering the weekend but picked up for the tournament. The Two Rivers and Manitowoc piers were also packed full over the weekend for a fishing derby. Trollers were averaging seven to eight fish during the week with a few limits reported. Trollers out of southeastern Wisconsin harbors continued to report good success with a mixed bag of chinook, coho, rainbow, and a few brown and lake trout. A angler out of Racine reportedly brought in a 41.5 pound brown trout last Friday. Shore fishing has also been good, with fair numbers of chinook, some browns and a few perch taken off piers.

The nesting season is winding down but some species are still working on late nests or their second or third clutches. Tennessee and Nashville warblers and other species are moving around now that their breeding season is almost over. Bald eagle fledglings are now hunting on their own. Outdoor enthusiasts and wildlife watchers from across the state have reported 422 game bird brood observations during the first month of the survey period.. The most frequently observed game bird species is turkeys with an average of four poults per hen. Ruffed grouse are the next most frequently seen game bird followed by pheasants, with both averaging five poults per hen. People can continue to report observations throughout the remainder of July and the month of August through the Wisconsin Game Bird Brood Observations page of the DNR website. Red admiral and monarch butterflies are prevalent.

Blueberries and raspberries are ripe in the north and bountiful crops are being reported. Mid summer wildflowers blooming include asters, bergamot, coneflowers, compass plant, goldenrods, milkweed, mullein, sunflower, evening primrose, hoary vervain, yarrow, queen Anne's lace and big and little bluestem.

Superior DNR Service Center area

Brule River State Forest – The Bois Brule River is running at normal seasonal levels. Blueberry pickers (and bear) are enjoying the bountiful crop. Pin cherries and chokecherries should ripen in the next few days. Flowers that have started blooming in the past couple of weeks are campion, sorrel, milkweed, mullein, native sunflower, evening primrose, asters, fleabane, and big blue stem. Invasive species that are blooming now are spotted knapweed, butter and eggs, hoary alyssum, and tansy. Summer seems to going quickly now as there is a little over a month before kids are back in school. It is not too late to get out to the Brule River State Forest to do some camping, picnicking, canoeing, fishing, hiking, checking out the Hatchery, or soaking in the sun on the beach. Admission stickers are only required in the campgrounds and the picnic area at the Bois Brule Canoe Landing, everywhere else has free admission…a fun and inexpensive way to spend a summer day!

Ashland DNR Service Center area

Big Bay State Park – The highs have been in the 80s with the lows in the 60s.Trails are in good condition. The raspberries and blueberries are abundant and ripe. Campsites have been quickly filling up, and reservations are highly recommended. Access to Madeline Island and the park is via the Madeline Island Ferry Line service. The ferries depart from Bayfield and carry passengers and vehicles of all sizes. They run 7 days per week

Park Falls DNR Service Center area

Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - The Upper Chippewa Basin received about another inch of rain in the last week. This has kept most streams and flowages at a high level and made for some tough fishing conditions. However, many of the seepage lakes still remain at a relatively low level and they have just been creeping up with the slowly increasing ground water levels. Weed densities continue to be real variable, with emergent vegetation such as wild rice, bulrush and water lily appearing to be at typical densities. But submergent weed growth such as pondweed, musky cabbage, coontail and milfoil continues to be relatively light for this time of year on many lakes and flowages. Angling success continues to be real variable and the constantly changing weather seems to be keeping most species pretty tight-lipped. Musky have been providing the most consistent action as the fish are showing much more of a typical summer pattern. The best success has been coming from weed edges and over the weed beds, with top-water baits providing some very good action. Some nice catches have been made, with most of the fish in the 36 to 42-inch size and some up to 48 inches also reported. Bass fishing has been generally slow, with both largemouth and smallmouth being somewhat tough to find. Largemouth still do not seem to be in their typical summer pattern and the fish that have been caught have been found in a variety of different habitats. From deep-water structure, to bog edges, to shallow weeds, to woody cover – all have produced some fish, but none have produced real consistently. The same has held true for smallmouth, and they seem to be even more finicky than the largemouth lately. A few nice fish have been caught on a slow presentation of plastic finesse baits – worked near woody structure in 5 to 8 feet of water. Walleye action continues to be slow and many anglers have just given up trying to catch this species during these dog days of summer. The catches that have been made have come on small weedless jigs, fished with a leech or a piece of crawler that is worked thru the mid-depth weed beds. Panfish action has been fair. Some decent catches of crappie, perch and rock bass continue to be made, but larger bluegill have been a bit tougher to find.

Peshtigo DNR Service Center area

Lots of rain has the rivers running high and fast, combine this with the heat and humidity and fishing pressure in most places has been light. Lots of debris still hampers river and bay anglers alike.

Marinette County – The Peshtigo Harbor has still been producing some catfish and sheepshead but it takes an ounce or better of weight to keep bait in place. The salmon bite out of the Menominee River has been good from the 3 Sisters to Chambers Island, no one color stands out at this time although green seems to work well. The walleye bite on the Menominee is alive and well with trolling in the evening netting anglers some nice eye’s in the 17 to 20 inch range. With the fast moving water trolling up river is the only effective means of presenting a lure.

Oconto County – A few panfish were being caught up by the dam at Stiles but most of the activity is coming from kayaks, canoes, and rafters enjoying the rivers. The perch bite is spotty out of Oconto Breakwater and Oconto Park II. If you get on a school there are some nice fish, with minnows being the bait of choice. Find the weed beds in 8 to 16 feet of water.

Green Bay DNR Service Center area

Brown County – Bayshore Park anglers have had some good walleye action. Most anglers have been fishing crawler harnesses. Anglers have been fishing water depths ranging 8 to 24 feet of water depending on the day. Perch fishing is still hit or miss. Minnows or worms seem to be working the best for perch anglers.

Manitowoc County – High temperatures in the mid-80s combined with light winds early in the week created excellent pre-fishing for area anglers participating in the Two Rivers Kiwanis Fish Derby. By Thursday, the winds picked up out of the west at 15-20 mph, bringing in cold water to help out pier anglers. Water temperatures varied from the mid-50s to the lower 60s over the weekend which was the biggest challenge for derby contestants. Boats were averaging 7-8 fish during the week with a few three person limits, but fishing consistency slowed for the derby. Pier fishing has been consistent all week, with several of the top fish in the derby being caught off the piers along the lakeshore. Out of Two Rivers, the best action has moved in shallow between 15-30 feet from Two Rivers ranging south to Cleveland. Most boats by the weekend were fishing the gaps of both the Manitowoc and Two Rivers piers. Coolers have consisted mostly of chinook salmon of all age classes, along with rainbows and browns. The brown trout have been relatively big, with many in the 13-18 pound range. The majority of boats have had success using spoons up high with J-Plugs on the down riggers and also up higher on planer boards. Green in both plugs and spoons continues to be the color of choice, but some days any color catches fish. With fishing so shallow, scatter the water column and you will find where the fish are. Keep an eye out for cooler temperature breaks and try working those areas. With the derby over the weekend, the Two Rivers and Manitowoc piers were packed full this past week. The catch has been dominated by three and four year old kings ranging from 12-18 pounds with a few large rainbow and brown trout. Casting with green champs, any type of green spoons, and jigging with gulp minnows have been reported for taking most of the kings, rainbows, and browns. Using alewife on bottom or on bobber four feet down has also been very successful with kings and rainbows. Get out as early as you can, both in the morning and afternoon, considering most fish have been taken near the end of the piers.

Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area

Door County – The third week of July was dominated by a nasty mid week thunderstorm and inclement weather. A large storm cell came through the area Wednesday and shook fishing conditions up a bit. Spotty showers continued through the week and into the weekend. The mid week thunderstorm had some affect on fishing; however, fish were still being caught on both the lake and the bay. Fishing the bank reef has been busy to say the least with most success coming on a variety of baits including flies, spoons and j-plugs. Occasional rainbows were being caught in the upper 70 feet of the water column, but most coolers have been dominated by salmon. A smallmouth bass tournament was held over the weekend with around 100 boats hitting the water. Fishing was slow entering the weekend but picked up for the tournament. Plastics were the popular bait, along with some stick baits and spinner baits. Perch fishing has been decent, finding keepers has been the only obstacle. Minnows have been the most productive bait working in a variety of depths from 15 to 40 feet of water. Most anglers report about one keeper per two or three fish caught. Fishing countywide has continued to be productive. Chaudoir’s Dock anglers have been fishing perch with some success. Most have been fishing south of the landing in 20 feet of water. Minnows have been working the best rigged on a slip bobber or a bottom rig. Anglers were also catching a few walleye with most being caught on a crawler harness. Anglers fishing walleyes have also reported numbers of drum and catfish being caught as well. Little Sturgeon Bay anglers have been having good success on perch fishing in the weeds in the bay. A few walleye are being caught by anglers trolling, most have been caught on crank baits. Sturgeon Bay anglers have been catching some perch. The best action has been in the weeds off the State Park.

Peninsula State Park – All hiking trails and the Sunset Bicycle Trail are open. Heavy and sustained rain over recent weeks has resulted in standing and flowing water across portions of Eagle Trail. Otherwise, trails are in good condition. The off-road bicycle trails are open to riding, but may be wet in some sections. Please report impassable trails to park staff. The American redstart–a warbler which nests in the park–has been frequently spotted by park visitors in recent weeks. Grouse are having second broods. Red admiral and monarch butterflies are prevalent. Self-heal, bergamot, harebell, rudbeckia, herb Robert, and bittersweet nightshade are currently in bloom. Peninsula is currently keeping a record of all salamander observations. Please report any salamander sightings to the White Cedar Nature Center. The bat boxes attached to the exterior of the Welcker’s Point shelter building are home to a nursery colony of little brown and big brown bats. Bats can be observed exiting the bat boxes nightly, about 30 minutes after sunset. Nicolet Beach is open for swimming, but the bathrooms and showers are still undergoing replacement and are not available. The nearest showers are located in the North and South Nicolet Bay campgrounds. A toilet trailer has been provided at the beach for convenience. Construction of the pre-fabricated shower building is scheduled to begin in the coming weeks. Mosquitoes are out in full force due to recent rain. Plan to bring insect repellent for hiking Peninsula’s inland trails.

Kewaunee County – Some major storms made their way through the county this week and brought with them varying wind strengths and directions. The wind did not seem to remain blowing in one direction consistently and caused the water temperatures at the surface to change by more than 10 degrees some days. This brought a week of very up and down fishing out on Lake Michigan. The Kewaunee pier had a few reports of king salmon and rainbow trout being caught but the fishing continued to be very slow this week. The most productive lures were spoons that were red with black flecks. This week the fishing out on the lake near Kewaunee continued to show varied success. Some days had reports of fish being caught early in the mornings but shutting down around 6 am and remaining slow for the remainder of the day and night. Other days the bite seemed to be pretty consistent throughout the day and into the evening others. The fish caught throughout the week seemed vary in depths ranging for 70 feet to about 180 feet of water. The anglers that were able to find water temperatures in the mid 50s had consistently caught fish while any temperatures about 56 degrees seemed to be slow fishing. The fish seemed to be split almost 50/50 on spoons and flies with no particular color doing better than others. Once again the pier fishing in Algoma was very slow with reports of only two fish being caught all week. The two reported fish were caught on fire tiger spoons and were both rainbow trout. The fishing all week was hampered by a combination of warm waters and storms that ravaged the area. The average catch per boat this week was down dramatically to only 2-3 fish and the size of the fish considerably smaller as well.


Havenwoods State Forest – Trails are in good condition. Deer, squirrels, raccoon, turkeys, red-tailed hawks, cooper’s hawk, owls, mourning doves, chickadees, nuthatch, downy woodpeckers, flickers, song sparrows, meadowlark, bluebirds, bobolink, Baltimore orioles, American redstart, wood ducks, and mallards are all being seen in the forest.

Kettle Moraine State Forest – Pike Lake Unit – All trails are open. Trails east of Powder Hill Road have some wet and muddy areas. Temporary planks are on the trail in these areas to help hikers avoid the mud. The accessible trail pier is in place for the season. Swim area buoys are in place for the season. The lake water is tested four days a week for elevated bacteria levels. Any warnings will be posted.

Lake Michigan fisheries team report

Sheboygan County – In Sheboygan trollers have been catching chinook, rainbow, and lake trout. Most fish have been caught throughout the water column in 25 to 50 feet of water. Shore fishing in Sheboygan has been good, with rainbow, chinook, and a few brown trout caught off both piers. Spoons and alewives have taken the most fish.

Ozaukee County – Trollers in Port Washington have found a mixed bag of fish between 30 and 60 feet of water. Good numbers of chinook, coho, rainbow, and a few brown and lake trout have been hitting spoons, flashers and flies, and J-plugs. Shore anglers in Port Washington have been catching perch on jigs and minnows fished near the power plant as well as off the harbor side of the pier. Anglers fishing the lake side of the pier have been catching chinook. The most success has been with alewives, but some fish have been taken on spoons as well.

Milwaukee County – In Milwaukee trollers have been catching mostly chinook, along with a few coho and rainbow. Fish have been caught in 40 to 60 feet of water, and spoons have taken the majority of fish. Some boats have also taken chinook while jigging at Milwaukee’s north gap. For shore anglers, the most consistent spot continues to be McKinley pier. Chinooks have been caught off the pier after dark and before dawn, and most have been taken on alewives. Perch anglers have had some limited success at Cupertino pier and the Lake Express Ferry dock. Small shiners have produced the most when fished early in the morning.

Racine County – In Racine trollers have been catching good numbers of chinook and a few brown, coho and rainbow. Fish have been near shore, with the best action in 25 to 50 feet of water. Spoons, flies, and J-plugs have all taken fish, and green and silver have been the most productive colors. A 41.5 pound brown trout was taken north of Racine last Friday. Congratulations to the angler and his crew on this fish of a lifetime! Shore fishing in Racine has also been good, with fair numbers of chinook taken off the piers in the early morning hours. Both spoons and alewives have taken fish. Perch anglers fishing from shore have had the most success near Gateway, and boats have taken a few limits near the DeKoven Center.

Kenosha County – In Kenosha the trolling bite remains consistent, with good catches coming from 20 to 60 feet of water. Nearly all methods have produced fish at times. Fishing in the Kenosha harbor has been spotty, with some chinook taken off the south pier either before dawn or after dark. Silver & green spoons as well as glow in the dark have been catching fish. Perch anglers have occasionally been catching fair numbers off of the south pier and in Southport Marina, and the boats continue to catch some at the bubbler. Both crab tails and minnows have produced.

Fitchburg DNR Service Center area

Much of Columbia County and Sauk County are under slow-no-wake orders due to high water. Algae blooms continue to be a problem on Lake Wisconsin and Beaver Dam Lake causing odor and health concerns. The Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers are both running very high, making navigation quite difficult. There is a lack of sandbars to camp on in the Lower Wisconsin Riverway during these high water conditions.

La Crosse DNR Service Center area

Perrot State Park - Trails are in good condition. Water levels are extremely variable this summer due to the drawdown on Pool 6. At times, the bay is VERY low, but after heavy rains, the water can be very high. The level can change over the course of the day and large boats may have difficulty reaching the Mississippi River from our boat landing. Caution is advised. Baby toads are hopping around the park. Fledgling bald eagles are learning to hunt in the bay. White pelicans are soaring overhead amid large groups of turkey vultures. Spotted fawns are still prancing about on the North Road. Butterflies and dragonflies are dancing about in the prairies. Plants currently blooming in the park include: hoary vervain, yarrow, compass plant, prairie dock, cup plant, monarda, coneflowers, daisy fleabane, creeping bellflower, mullein, Canada and showy tick-trefoil, swamp milkweed, grey-headed coneflower, wild quinine, leadplant, hoary alyssum, coreopsis, goldenrods, sunflowers and queen Anne's lace. big bluestem, little bluestem and side-oats grama are also in bloom. Mosquitoes are out and about. Campers are advised to remember their bug spray since there is none to be purchased in Trempealeau.

Great River State Trail - The trail is open and in good condition. Prairie flowers are blooming along the sides of the trail and the sweet smell of bergamot fills the air. Goldenrods, button bush, swamp milkweed, and Joe-Pye weed are the stars of the show. Mosquitoes and gnats are out in pretty good numbers and users are encouraged to be prepared.

Black River Falls DNR Service Center area

Black River State Forest - Water levels on the Black River are very high and there is much more water in the channels. Two sections of All-terrain Vehicle (ATV) Trails closed by last week’s storm have reopened. Only the Wildcat loop remains closed. Crews hope to repair this section by early next week and have it open by July 30. The entire trail system has been groomed within the last week and is in good condition with some areas of standing water. Please remember that it is never appropriate to leave the trail system even to avoid a wetter area. This behavior in past years has resulted in short-term closures of the system. The state forest is hard at work upgrading the entire system to make the trails less susceptible to large rainfall events. Those portions that have been upgraded faired very well even with the recent rain. After Labor Day weekend crews will continue work on the section of trail just south of the Highway 54 parking lot and begin work on the section running just south of the Castle Mound area of the forest.

Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area

Buckhorn State Park - Many visitors have been enjoying the warm weather swimming at the beach. People have been catching fish from the pier and at their campsites. The kid's fishing pond has had many visitors using the new parking lot. Kids have been catching and releasing small bluegills , bass and some crappies from the pier at the pond. Trails are in great condition for hiking with the warmer weather and many visitors have been camping, picnicking and fishing. GPS units are available to checkout at the park office. There are not too many mosquitoes but there has been some biting flies. Canoes and kayaks are available to rent at park office. There will be a night hike and naturalist program on Saturday, July 24 from 7-10 p.m. Campfire stories and craft, hike the 1 mile tiki torch lit trail.

Roche-A-Cri State Park - Many wildflowers are blooming in the prairie. Friendship Lake is just a mile down the road and has a swimming beach. The stairway up the bluff is closed due to deteriorating lumber. A $354,600 project to replace it has been approved. We expect to seek bids for the project sometime this year. The petroglyph viewing platform at the base of the mound is still open and several miles of hiking trails are available.